The tenth album from death metal leaders Cattle Decapitation grabs the previously set bar and shoves it down your throat: Terrasite.
I am not sure what I was doing with myself back in 1996, but whatever it was I somehow missed the emergence of Cattle Decapitation. I didn’t start listening to them carefully until their fourth album, Humanure (2004). After that, I listened to the back catalogue and looked for each new piece. They play a complex form of death metal that fuses and moves around many separate elements, making every composition unique. I thought each new album was an achievement, and my absolute favorite is 2019’s Death Atlas. I wondered when I heard it if there was any way Cattle Decapitation would bring out another record to match it – and if they didn’t, that’d be all right because we already had Death Atlas. The band is Travis Ryan (vocals), Josh Elmore (guitar), Belisario Dimuzio (guitar), Olivier Pinard (bass), and David McGraw (drums).
What’s it all about, Terrasite? Josh Elmore tells us, “After a record like Death Atlas you have to make a turn. Everything about that album – the concept, artwork, music, etc., was a final statement. The only way to move forward is rebirth. In approaching the newest record, it was not only necessary to keep the musical trajectory the band has been aiming towards since the beginning, but also to further explore the ambient/textural elements that were part of Death Atlas.” OK. That sounds ambitious. Travis Ryan goes on to say, “I wanted to do the 180° opposite of Death Atlas. I already had the concept idea from years back and since Death Atlas was so dark and brooding, I wanted a completely opposite effect – I wanted this to take place in the daylight. I’ve always found daytime horror to be really unsettling so I wanted to make sure what was going on on the cover took place in the light of day, which also finds its place within the lyrics.” That is a wicked plan, and it has been well executed on the new album.
From the beginning, “Terrasitic Adaptation” creeps in, growing slowly to a raging swarm. The music is quite grand until about the ninety-second mark, where it explodes. The music is ferocious, like being torn apart bit by bit in the pincers of a giant insect. “We Eat Our Young” is a title that sends shivers up your spine so imagine what the music is like. Cattle Decapitation can make the concept real in your mind as you are raked by the guitars and searing vocals. The song is absolute savagery. We might expect “Scourge Of The Offspring,” then, to be a kind of retribution from the group who had been feasted upon, and you can certainly see it that way if you want to. The music is so frantic, even in the down shifts and grooves, that your nerves constantly tingle listening to it.
The new album from Cattle Decapitation is a brutal beatdown. I have to hear it a couple more times before I can put it beside, above, or below Death Atlas, but it is certainly competitive. Make sure you go all the way to the end where you will find the ten-minute epic “Just Another Body.” It is incredible that after nine punishing tracks, an even bigger one awaits at the terminus. Highly recommended.
Terrasite is out on Friday, May 12th through Metal Blade Records in many forms. Have a look around at the links below.
Band photo by Wayne Edwards.
Band website, http://cattledecapitation.com/
Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/cattledecapitation/
© Wayne Edwards